Battersea Power Station may consider ditching resi units for more office space

"Staggering" office demand after Apple deal and an "enormous" prime resi slowdown could lead to a rethink

Apple’s landmark signing of 500,000 square feet of Battersea Power Station to create a new “London campus”, combined with the capital’s slowing prime resi market – which has seen some top-end schemes scale back bigger units (here, most recently) – is causing the 42-acre site’s developers to rethink its resi/commercial mix, according to some reports.

1.25 million square feet is already earmarked for office use at BPS (with a good chunk of that going to Apple), but the Battersea’s Chief Exec Rob Tincknell has told Property Week that “staggering” demand from office occupiers may lead to some space currently allocated for residential units being given over to office space in future phases.

Rob Tincknell, Chief Executive of the Battersea Power Station Development Company: “[The Apple deal] completely underpins the destination. I think now there’s the opportunity to continue this success with other buildings around the rest of the development.

“We might look to convert some of our future space to offices – we are not shy of doing that. We’ve got lots of interest from other occupiers and are talking to many different people about phase four, which we are only just getting off the ground. We are not in advanced negotiations with anyone… And we know that the local authority will be quite keen on commercial uses because it generates business rates.”

Tincknell goes on to blame stamp duty for the “enormous” slowdown in the capital’s prime residential sector – “Resi has slowed down in central London enormously and until we get a change to [stamp duty], I can’t see a lot of change to the demand profile in central London” – but clarified that the development is not “chasing the market” and that resi unit prices would not be cut.

The Nine Elms development area – currently Europe’s biggest building site – has come under a fair bit of fire for potential top-end over-supply (e.g. LCP’s warnings of a “new-build crisis”), but JLL recently came out swinging to say that such reports were “exaggerated”, at least around its new Nine Elms office.

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